DAYTON, Ohio (WANE)- Hundreds of students, athletes, and teachers gathered in Dayton this evening to remember the life of Steve McElvene. The New Haven High School graduate played for the University of Dayton Flyers. Last Thursday, the 20-year-old basketball standout collapsed and died suddenly in his Fort Wayne home.
It was standing room only inside the Immaculate Conception Chapel on the University of Dayton campus. According to University officials 425 people attended the prayer service for McElvene. University of Dayton’s Vice President and Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said Monday’s service was the first time the UD community had a chance to come together to mourn his death.
“We’re a community of faith, a community that believes in the power of prayer and the power of community gathering together,” said Sullivan. “This is just an effort to offer some prayers for Steve and his family and our players and staff to get through this time. We’ll have some scripture readings and some heartfelt prayer.”
In addition to reading scriptures and prayer, mourners at the service were asked to write their favorite memories of McElvene which will be given to his family. People who attended were also asked to share stories about him with their neighbor.
“He was a good kid,” said Sullivan. “Very jovial. He was just fun to be around. I think that’s what you’ll see in most of these memorials. The attitude he brought everyday.”
Plenty of tears shed and hugs to go around at the memorial service, but many trying to smile through the pain.
“I don’t want it to be sad,” said Michelle Meeks, who attended the prayer service. “He wasn’t a sad person. He was a happy person. He was always dancing. That was who he was.”
Details of McElvene’s funeral are expected to be released soon, but Sullivan said services will take place Saturday in Fort Wayne.
A GOFUNDME account was set up to assist McElven’s family.